New Ids get rocky start at other schools

Students at other universities have given Higher One a mixedreception, but the schools have also faced problems ranging fromempty ATMs to students accidentally tossing out their newcards.

Problems, administrators at other Higher One schools say, thatPSU may face in its first year using the cards as well.

However, schools entering their second year of partnership withHigher One say that many of the problems have to do withimplementation and a failure to adequately educate students aboutthe new cards. Many campus ID card administrators indicated thatthe company is working with them to resolve issues and thesituation is improving.

One of the most difficult problems that schools have faced atthe new card’s launch has been the students who, not understandingthat the card is their new ID, discard it and then are unable toretrieve their financial aid disbursement until they receive a newcard.

“We had anywhere from 3,000 to 4,000 students getting refundswho had lost their cards, or cut up their cards, or say they neverreceived their cards in the mail,” Jackie Mitchell of theUniversity of Houston reported in a posting to a listserv forOneCard administrators dated Feb. 3.

Sam Houston State University (SHSU) in Huntsville, Texasexperienced similar problems, according George Rollins who directsBearKat OneCard services there.

“That did occur, and I think you might experience the samething,” he said. These problems tend to fade, however, once allstudents receive the card and understand what it is, Rollinsexplained.

Many universities also had problems when students, eager tocash-in on some of their newly received financial aid money,flocked to ATMs and quickly drained them of all of their cash.

Kellee Williams, who directs Liberty University’s OneCardprogram, said that Liberty’s ATM problems were in part due to notgiving adequate information to Higher One about the amount offinancial aid they would be dispersing.

Also, ATMs placed in high-traffic areas tend to get used moreoften and by non-students, causing them to run out faster.

Sean Glass, vice-president of marketing for Higher One, agreedwith Williams about the source of schools’ ATM woes.

“If we don’t get accurate information from the university it isdifficult to keep the ATMs stocked,” he said.

“Part of it is learning the demand for the product,” Rollinssaid, who, along with Williams, said that Higher One has beenresponsive about restocking the ATMs.

At Eastern Michigan University (EMU), many students were sentOneCards with an “X” where their photo should have been, requiringthe company to mail a second batch of cards.

These problems have caused some student frustration with the newIDs, while other students say they have found the card to be aconvenience.

“It’s really hit and miss,” Kelley Basden, a student at EMUsaid, describing how students have received the card at her school.”At first there was a lot of confusion and no one was getting theirmoney right away.”

Brad Stafford, student body president at the University ofWisconsin-Stout, said that the OneCard has “more than integrateditself with students” at his school, but added that in his opinion”a local bank or local vendor would have been more beneficial.”

“I really like the new cards,” Larry Crum, a senior at MarshallUniversity, told the Herald-Dispatch of Huntington, W.Va. “I had myrefund put back on my card, and I’m using the Marshall card to savemoney and my normal account for spending.”

But Jessica Pitzer, another student at Marshall, told theHerald-Dispatch that she was frustrated with the ATMs and nextsemester would be transferring her money to another bankaccount.

Upperclassmen have been most resistant to the new card at SHSU,mostly due to fear that they were being railroaded into using thedebit card feature, according to Rollins.

“Over time they’ve learned that they’re not forced to have adebit card,” he said. “It was an education process, but it’s muchbetter now.”

Most schools have launched extensive marketing campaigns toeducate students about the OneCard. Schools are also promoting theprogram through DVD give-aways and drawings for footballtickets.

Also, new students who did not experience the change in IDformat are more likely to accept the new cards, administratorssay.

“Its going over better and better as new freshman classes comein,” Williams said about Liberty students’ acceptance of the card.”Most students seem to really like it.”

August 2003
PSU begins developing the idea of a student ID that functions as adebit card and allows students to deposit financial aid directlyonto the card.

September – November 2003
U.S. Bank, which contracts with all public institutions in Oregon,begins working with PSU to redesign the ID system. PSU decides theoffer does not meet school needs and declines the bank’s offer.

December 8, 2003
PSU publishes a “request for proposal” seeking submissions ofproposed solutions for PSU’s ID needs.

January 2004
PSU reviews proposals and presentations from Wells Fargo, FSVPayment Systems, Global Cash Card, U.S. Bank and Higher One. Someof the firms, including Higher One, are prevented from making theirpresentation because of inclement weather.

February 5, 2004
Higher One representatives return to PSU and present theirproposal.

June 17, 2003
PSU announces that Higher One is the “apparent winner” of the IDcontract.

August 6, 2004
PSU and Higher One sign a five-year contract for Higher One toprovide ID and financial aid disbursement services to theUniversity.

September 2, 2004
PSU holds “kickoff” meeting and first marketing meeting for theHigher One partnership.

September 20, 2004
Student government submits formal request to PSU to suspendcontract with Higher One.

September 24, 2004
PSU and Higher One agree to defer implementation of contract by onemonth.

November 15, 2004
Current launch date for new ID program.